Friday, June 07, 2013

turning my eyes upon jesus

remember those tacky posters in your old church youth group room? particularly the one with the huge school of fish swimming one direction, and one lone fish going the opposite way. against the flow.
i never liked those posters. mostly because the lesson so often taught from such things is about what we don't do. what we should be abstaining from as a follower of christ. folks just really get so much of that wrong, i think.
as i get older i better understand what "going against the flow" looks like. and being separate costs something a bit more than the ache of being lonely or different. it takes all of my energy.

"for god, who said, “let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of god in the face of jesus christ." 2 corinthians 4:6

a heart transformed by christ is much more than avoiding particular sins. my heart is new. this means new desires, new temptations, new life. more than striving to resist sin and temptation, i ought to be intentionally seeking to bring god glory in all i do. this includes my thought life and how i spend my time. 

we're familiar with "guilty pleasures". things that are hollow and eternally useless. magazines, tv shows, music, books etc. that help us to check out from our own reality and just chill.  sometimes for me idleness itself is what i choose. 
while i don't at all think that god hates entertainment and certainly not rest. i do think he despises that which draws our hearts away from him. the things of the world. and that's what i'm examining in my life all over again because this will be a struggle for the rest of my time on this earth

i pray and i ask these terrifying questions. they're scary because once i ask and answer, i know. and if something needs dealt with, that process must begin.

when i'm happy
when i fear
when i grieve
when i worry
when i'm alone
what do i desire the most? what do i long for? what gets me most excited?
if the answer if anything other than jesus, it's an idol.

and that's basically the end of that conversation.
no way around that fact. no excuses.

if i am turning to anything else, i can't be filled with jesus. it's like trying to fill something that's already full. so i am praying about this. asking jesus to continue to strip these idols from my heart. because i want more of him. and i need him to show me the balance of healthy, beneficial entertainment. i know there must be such a thing, lord show me what it looks like! i need him to turn my heart from worthless pleasures and give me a fresh taste for the pleasures of god.

especially as a mother, i think about this. i want my son to see my life and see christ. 
are we "going against the flow"? what are we swimming toward? 
what am i living for?
who am i living for?
the answer should be jesus.
sadly, i often choose to live for myself or my family or some other thing that just doesn't matter. 
praise jesus for his patience and gentleness as he corrects my path. his grace is enough with each new step. 
so instead of despairing that i'm failing or not getting it right, i look to jesus. and keep on looking at him. like the newsboys version of a favorite hymn says:

When you're dull from all that glitters,
when you're thoughts have a hollow ring,
when you can't escape from the feeling
you're getting it wrong...
All your foolproof plans seem foolish,
all your status is status quo,
all your really need to know
is where you belong.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus. 
Look full in his wonderful face. 
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim 
in the light of his glory and grace.

I was used to the cold for so long
that I couldn't feel anything.
And I shivered and stared like a beggar
who won't lift his hands.
I was numb until he touched me.
I was deaf until he heard.
I was senseless 'til I met the one who understands. 

rather than chasing numbness, remember that day when the numbness ended. 
when he touched your heart, opened your ears and gave you knowledge. remember it every single day. because that's how our time matters. when we are in his light and not dulled by this world's shiny, fleeting things. we cannot afford to waste time on that which fades. so we must pray for god's help in fixing our gaze on him alone. ask him to remove the taste of idleness and increase the desire for more and more of him.

"god, i pray thee, light these idle sticks of my life that i may burn for thee. consume my life, my god, for it is thine. i seek not a long life but a full one like you, lord jesus." jim elliot


  1. wow great post. I had to go share those lyrics on facebook!

  2. i know its been awhile hannah.. but i send hugs and LOVE!
    i can hear the song getting stuck in my head now.. in a very good way! blessings dear sister!

  3. You are so right... But it can be really hard. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I need to print this off and read it often. Thankful for the words God has given you to share with all of us.

  5. When I read, or hear things like this, I always feel "less than", needing to do better. In my head, I totally agree with all you said. When I wake up in the morning, I start running to complete all that is screaming for attention, and my bible study materials lay open and untouched again. The world DEMANDS my attention and I am having a difficult time learning to ignore that voice and listen to the still, small voice calling me to Himself. It is my eternal comfort that Jesus says, over and over again, Today is the day of Salvation. Always another chance to start again. I thank my Lord that He forever loves and cares for me, always calling me to Himself, again and again.

    1. rosemary! yes. he rescues us from ourselves again and again. and we can never "measure up", that's why he freely gives grace and helps us, nothing depends on what we do or fail to do. press on! he is our strength that never tires, our guardian who never sleeps and our savior who absolutely never shows up late.


  6. It's free. It's ours. Why is it so hard to just breathe and know that he LOVES us!

  7. A to the men. Seriously. That song and Jim Elliot quote. May they be the cries of our hearts. Xo.

  8. you are such a great writer! : )love your thoughts!

  9. Love this post. It's a daily thing casting down idols and turning our eyes to Christ. I have to remind myself of that when I get frustrated with how again I failed or come short. His mercies are new every morning.